"The Florida Project" is a film that begs to be discussed. Who gets to make the distinction between an ill-suited parent and a neglectful one? How can anyone reasonably measure the damage done to children by loving but ill-suited parents? What would you do to keep your children warm, fed and safe? That is, what lines would you cross or not cross? This provocative, beautifully executed film has further persuaded me that those of us who have never been truly desperate are unqualified to say which lines we would or wouldn't cross. I hope one person who sees this movie and reads this post will try answering at least one of my questions. I'll treat that as the follow-up to the discussion my wife and I had after leaving the theater.
Not a film enthusiast? OK, pick up "The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley" (2017 - Hannah Tinti) an old-fashioned novel - in the best possible sense - that approaches parenting from a totally different angle. For me, Tinti's worthwhile book was close to the bone; the intense bond Hawley has with his only daughter Loo had me from the start. But, just like the mother-daughter relationship in "The Florida Project", Hawley and I approach parenting very differently. How many couples or single parents do you know who approached parenting as you did?
Not enough time for a movie or patience for a book? Got two minutes and forty-four seconds and $1.29? Download "What Shall We Do With The Child?", a Nicholas Holmes-Kate Horsey composition from 1968 sung by Carly Simon on "Torch". Listen to this unheralded gem and try answering the central question. In sixty years of living inside music, I have yet to come across another song written about the subject Holmes/Dorsey tackled here. If you know of another, please educate me. Now, if anyone out there completes the trifecta - sees the film, reads the book, listens to the song - we simply must have lunch. I'll travel, if required.